Nick Cohen’s bloc with the right

In the 20 February issue of the Observer, the paper’s resident Islamophobe Nick Cohen devotes his column to an attack on the dossier produced by the mayor of London in response to the campaign against Yusuf al-Qaradawi (“Ken Has a Lot to Be Sorry For“).

Cohen’s article is merely the latest episode in his long-running – and apparently unending – vendetta against those of us on the left who have retained our old-fashioned sympathies with the victims of imperialism and racism. In Cohen’s view we are all “pseudo-leftists” who have abandoned the gains of the Enlightenment and are “moving to the right, often to the far-right” to form a bloc with “obscurantists, theocrats and fascists”.

It seems to have escaped Cohen’s attention that on this issue he is the one who is in a bloc with the right. It is the extreme right-wingers in the field of Islamic studies such as Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer with whom Cohen finds common ground over Qaradawi. Those on the liberal, progressive wing of western academia, such as John Esposito, Noah Feldman and Raymond Baker, all recognise Dr al-Qaradawi’s role as a reformer and democrat.

Meanwhile, the excellent Abu Aardvark recounts how Dr al-Qaradawi has been denounced on a jihadist chat room for his corrupting influence in promoting freedom, individual choice and tolerance.

As for the mayor’s dossier, it can be consulted online here, and readers can make up their own minds whether Cohen has answered it effectively.